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How to sign on the dole after redundancy in the UK

Jobseeker's Allowance is there to support you if you've been unfortunate enough to lose your job. If you've paid into the system, you should feel no shame about having to sign on while looking for alternative work, especially if you lost your last job through no fault of your own due your previous employer making redundancies. The application process for people who have been made redundant is much the same as it is for those who have found themselves without work due to the end of a temporary contract or for any other reason, but there are a few specific issues laid off workers will need to consider.

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  1. Navigate to the JSA application page on the Directgov website or call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688. If you'd like to apply by phone speaking Welsh, call 0800 012 1888. Jobcentre Plus also provides a textphone service on 0800 023 4888. You'll need to provide your National Insurance number, a phone number you can be contacted on, details of when and how you lost your last job and information about your financial situation, employment history and education. You may find it useful to have a copy of your P45 or P60 to hand when making your application for salary and tax information. Supply your bank account details when making your application if you want your JSA paid directly to you by bank transfer.

  2. Arrange a meeting to discuss your JSA claim at your local Jobcentre Plus office. You’ll receive a text message or phone call within two working days of submitting your application to arrange this. You'll be asked to enter into a "jobseeker's agreement" and discuss ways you can improve your chances of landing a new job. You could lose your entitlement to JSA if you fail to keep the your jobseeker's agreement. You'll be informed of your entitlement to JSA by post once your application has been assessed.

  3. Sign on at your local Jobcentre Plus every two weeks as directed. You'll be asked to present evidence of your efforts to find a job, so keep a list of your work search activities. In March 2013, The Guardian uncovered evidence that Jobcentre Plus offices were being encouraged by the Department for Work and Pensions to sanction jobseekers who failed to keep their agreements. Turning up late on your signing on day or failing to provide evidence that you've been looking for work could result in your benefits being cut or suspended.

  4. Tip

    If you've received JSA payments in the last 182 days you can make a make a "rapid reclaim" by asking for your payments to be restarted online or over the phone.


    Your application for JSA may be rejected if the person assessing your claim decides you left your last job voluntarily or were fired for misconduct. You'll have the right to appeal any such decision with evidence you were made redundant. You won't be entitled to JSA if you have savings. As of June 2013, you typically won't be able to claim JSA at all if you have savings of over £16,000. Your weekly benefit will be reduced by £1 for every £250 of savings you have over £6,000. up to the £16,000 threshold. As such, any redundancy payment you receive could affect your eligibility.

    Get your claim for JSA in as soon as you can. Your claim can only be considered from the day you make your application and cannot be backdated.

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Things You'll Need

  • National Insurance number
  • P45 or P60
  • Bank account details

About the Author

Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.

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